Migration Update: February
Are you ready to "dive in" and track the migration of the endangered Florida manatee? Our team of dedicated manatee scientists is back again, "by sea, land and air", ready to have you working along side them on some very important research projects.
This season, you'll be involved in satellite tracking the movements of five wild manatees with Susan Butler and Jim Reid of the Sirenia Project; taking daily manatee "roll calls" with Ranger Wayne Hartley at Blue Spring State Park; and counting manatees from airplanes with Dr. Bruce Ackerman in a statewide aerial manatee count. And Nancy Sadusky from Save the Manatee Club is also ready to field your Ask the Expert questions too. Let's get started!
Manatees are still listed as an endangered species, so being involved in manatee research has never been more important.
First Field Notes from Biologist Susan Butler
Jim Reid, Bob Bonde, Cathy Beck and I are all glad to be back again, making this the eighth year in a row working together with Journey North. We'll be satellite tracking manatees in the Ten Thousand Islands (TTI) area of SW Florida again, and today's data already shows some very interesting moves by the manatees. The new tracking data is below, but first take a minute to meet the Sirenia team and learn more about our work and the TTI research project:
Meet the Fab Five
This season, we have five wild manatees fitted with satellite tags, swimming freely, ready to be tracked by you. Two of these are males, named Belvedere and Giffer, that we just captured in the field a few short weeks ago in the Ten Thousand Islands area research area (TTI) (25.700N, -81.300W). The other three are all females, named Anna, Actual and Leslie, which have been tagged and tracked for quite a while now.
By the way, have you ever wondered how we manage to capture, weigh, measure, examine, draw blood from, fit a tag on, and release a marine mammal that's almost half a ton? Think it through and try to answer:
First Satellite Data & Maps: Let's Get Tracking!
Plot the latest satellite data for the manatees on your map. Tips to help with mapping and tracking the migration are provided further below in this report. (See Tips for Teachers below)
Latest Data and Individual Maps:
Measuring Manatee Movements
After you have plotted and mapped the manatees' movements, you are able to see where and how far they have traveled. Go a step further and try to answer:
That's all for now, we'll see you next week!
Field Notes from Ranger Wayne, In "the Run" at Blue Spring
I'll be back
next time with more news on the manatees at Blue Spring.
Holy Cow! What a Calf
Ranger Wayne carefully watches the number of calves each year at Blue Spring. Do you know why? You'll be able to answer our next Challenge Question when you look for clues in "Holy Cow! What a Calf":
A Manatee Hotspot and Geological Wonder
Blue Spring is a well-known hotspot for manatees in winter, and it's a geological wonder too. The protected creek called the "Run" is actually supplied by a flow of 104 million gallons of water per day coming from an underground spring more than a hundred feet below. Learn more about Blue Spring from Ranger Wayne and Journey North's Julie Brophy. Then see if you can answer Challenge Questions 5 and 6 below:
Tips for Teachers: Are YOU Ready for the Migration?
You may want to use these lessons and tips to help students develop the mapping skills they will need to track the migration.
A Tip to Keep Your Journey North Project Organized
A new Journey North season brings lots of excitement. Students gather information, study maps, calculate migration distances and spend time researching topics of special interest. To keep their Journey North work papers organized, it's helpful for students to create their own Portfolio folders. Take a look:
What's This? Looking Ahead
How to Respond to Today's Challenge Questions:
an e-mail message to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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